Localism, Globalism, And Gender
Stephen Turley says that corporate CEOs support genderbending because destroying any form of identity that is not wholly self-chosen is good for globalized business. Excerpt:
This social order of consumer-based options tends to forge a new conception of the human person as a sovereign individual who exercises control over his or her own life circumstances. Again, traditional social structures and arrangements are generally fixed in terms of key identity markers such as gender, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation. But globalized societies, because of the wide array of options, see this fixedness as restrictive. And so traditional morals and customs tend to give way to what we called lifestyle values. Lifestyle values operate according to a plurality of what sociologist Peter Berger defines as “life-worlds,” wherein each individual practices whatever belief system deemed most plausible by him or her. These belief systems include everything from religious identity to gender identity.
Thus, lifestyle values and identities are defined and determined by consumerist tendencies and norms. Commercial advertising is not merely central to economic growth, it is also of central influence to inventing the self through offering variant lifestyle features and choices. In the words of social theorist Anthony Giddens: “Market-governed freedom of individual choice becomes an enveloping framework of individual self-expression.”
I would therefore argue that the corporations promising to boycott states like North Carolina for their traditionalist politics are not so much for LGBT rights as they are against arbitrarily restricting lifestyle options, since such limitations are deemed inconsistent with a society comprised of consumer-based self-expression.
This is interesting to contemplate in light of the argument theologian William Cavanaugh makes in his 2008 book Being Consumed: Economics And Christian Desire. Cavanaugh says that the free market is based on the definition of freedom as an absence of external constraints. The wider your choice, the freer the market. This is problematic from a Christian point of view, as well as from a virtue ethics point of view, because it is agnostic about the existence of good and evil. The free market, thus conceived, catechizes us into believing that there is no truth, only individual desire. But desires are unavoidably social, so the will to power in society belongs to those who maximize individual choice by tearing down any structure or belief system that denies the primacy of individual choice.
In theory, anyway. In fact, you will notice that behind the rhetoric of “diversity” and “inclusivity,” those with power are attempting to disempower and indeed oppress those who don’t go along with them. For example, at Harvard, single-sex student clubs — off campus and not formally affiliated with Harvard — are now going to be effectively suppressed by the university, in the name of inclusion. Note that single-sex private clubs are so abhorrent that Harvard is making them all but illegal, but Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s president, defended the right of a Harvard student club to hold a satanic “black mass” a couple of years ago, because freedom. Funny exchange on that here:
— Reihan Salam (@reihan) May 6, 2016
Not that Harvard is abolishing *all* single-sex spaces … https://t.co/Y7sQDV1M1n
— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 6, 2016
And so forth. We know where this is going. We know about the hypocrisy of the secular left and corporate elites. No conservative who has ever had to suffer through so-called “diversity training” in a corporation can fail to grasp the deep dishonesty within the ruling class and its ideology. This is not about “freedom” at all. This is about destroying any nodes of resistance to a globalist ideology of consumer desire.
What is especially interesting is how elites within institutions that ought to be resistant are using the ideology to destroy authority within. For example, certain US Catholic universities:
The College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit, Catholic institution in Worcester, Mass., will implement a new housing policy in the 2016-2017 academic year that embraces gender ideology, which Pope Francis has called a threat to the family.
The updated housing policy “will allow students of different sexes to room together based on gender identity,” according to an April 29, 2016, report in the campus newspaper The Crusader.
At the University of San Francisco (USF), the gender-inclusive housing description was recently updated to indicate that students at the Jesuit-run institution should develop their own understanding about gender identity, including recognition that “human beings are not necessarily male or female as ascribed by their assigned gender at birth.”
Pope Francis, a Jesuit, reportedly called gender ideology “demonic” in an exchange with Austrian Bishop Andreas Laun. And the Holy Father has stated that the promotion of this ideology — which rejects the creation of human beings as male and female in the image and likeness of God — contributes to the destruction of the family.
Catholic Jesuit universities are in practice radically denying what the Roman Catholic Church teaches is true and real. But they’re claiming to be doing it for reasons of compassion and inclusivity. It is, of course, Orwellian. But these are the times.
One more for you: a reader sends in this newly published statement from the Oregon Department of Education, telling the state’s public schools how they should accommodate transgender students. The reader says he lives in Portland
where I daily encounter incidents that make me think the American experiment in ordered liberty (to use George Weigel language) may be beyond saving.
Attached is a depressing example. To “fisk” this document in all of its false presumptions, unsubtle coerciveness, and delusions requires at least ten pages. It is something to behold.
It’s true. Take a look at it. The thing could have been written by the activists at GLSEN — and probably was. It makes so many statements that are contestable, but treats them as if they were established facts. And it instructs schools to collude with transgender students to deceive the students’ parents, if requested to do so by the student. This revolutionary document is saturated with therapeutic language, e.g., “health and safety,” “safe and supportive,” and so forth.
To go back to the original point of this post: we know that gender ideology is the new crusade by elites in law, academia, and government, for transparently ideological reasons. What is harder to understand is why business cares one way or another. But once you realize that it helps business do what business wants to do when it obliterates all awareness that there are some fixed realities pertaining to the human person that are not chosen. What is the purpose of most advertising if not to convince people that they can become the person they want to be, or can reach a state of satisfaction they do not currently possess, if they would only pay for a product, service, or experience on sale. Gender ideology serves the goal of making the human person more manipulable by power elites, including global corporations.
If you are a social or religious conservative, you had better get radical, or you’re going to get steamrollered.